Illustration to Colin Hawkins' Witches
They come too fast for you to stop them, too fast to notice. They appear at first like stars falling but they aren't stars and they have no light of their own. They are formed of the new elements: heart, lungs, feet, hands and head.
The Curse of the Heart makes you spit fire when you should be singing. It scratches your belly and climbs out of your mouth when you're walking, scorching the ground and causing forest fires. It has scales and wings and can tear out your throat with one bite.
The Curse of the Lungs makes you wheeze. It breathes your air, starving you of oxygen and making you faint. It is grey, flaccid spongy. It talks in a whisper, usually about its looming death and last wishes, and has clammy hands.
The Curse of the Feet is all blisters. It flaps as it walks and parts of it peel off. It weeps a lot. It is sticky to the touch. It follows you about, pleading for you to slow down, but if you wait for it it will never quite catch up: it will twist a knee or an ankle and fall over, writhing and moaning with its arms waving in the air.
The Curse of the Hands has teeth. Don't stroke it. It keeps its back to the wall at all times, and tries to stay in corners, snarling at passers by. You can poke it with a stick or throw it a sandwich.
The Curse of the Head splits wood for a living. It carries an axe at all times and can chop down trees with three blows. It kicks over boulders. It will kick you in the belly if you let it. Its nose runs often and its eyes are sore and dry. It bumps into corners and trips over doorsteps. You can push it over, but you must be fast and plan your getaway meticulously.